Senior Sean Cloherty said he’s as prepared as he’s ever been to start the season.
So far, the results back him up.
After earning wins Thursday against Brother Rice and Leo in a Catholic League triangular at Brother Rice, the 145-pound Cloherty is 12-0.
“I’m happy with how I’ve done, but I’m always pushing forward,” he said.
Without their full lineup available, the Ramblers went 1-1, beating Leo 42-13 and losing to Brother Rice 59-24. Loyola forfeited 30 points to the Crusaders.
Part of what drove Cloherty in the offseason was not qualifying for the Class 3A sectional tournament last season at 138 pounds. As a sophomore, he won 38 matches and nearly advanced to the Class 3A state meet at 132 pounds.
“I did a lot of camps, and I was in the wrestling room as often as possible,” he said.
A four-year varsity starter, Cloherty said he’s more aggressive on the mat this season.
“I want to be relentless, go non-stop,” he said. “I’ve also fine-tuned my technique.”
Cloherty is one 10 returning starters for the Ramblers. Blake Bernstein (120), Andrew Bish (170), Trenton Bismonte (160) and Quinn McCarthy (138) are the other seniors back to the lineup. The glaring omission is Peter Kennedy, who tore the ACL in his right knee in the first game of the football season. He was slated to be a four-year starter.
The juniors include John Flanagan (145/152), John Kelly (182), Aidan McKeag (132) and Sam Schierloh (182). Sophomore Peter Gianaris (220) also is back. McKeag — Loyola’s lone sectional qualifier to return — is 11-1 this year after winning twice Thursday.
After getting the job last August, Loyola head coach Joe Haney said it was good to have a full offseason with the Ramblers. The roster also has increased since last season, according to Haney.
“Last year, I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off,” he said. “I am more comfortable with everything this year. I think everybody is more comfortable and more settled.”
Haney said the Ramblers will be tested this month, with tournaments at Prospect on Dec. 9 and Dec. 15-16 at Glenbrook South.
“We will be ramping up the competition very soon,” he said. “Both will be a good judge of where we are at this point of the season.”